Five Favorite Books is a special feature at LA Books Examiner in which our favorite authors share their five favorite books within a category. In this edition, Christopher Scott, author of a great new book for the holidays called A Day of Hope: Leading Volunteers to Make a Difference in Your Community discusses his five favorite books about leadership.
Christopher Scott is the Founder & Team Leader of A Day of Hope; a program that delivers baskets of food and turkeys to needy families for Thanksgiving. Christopher and his volunteers actively use Squidoo as a platform to advocate and raise money for A Day of Hope (and you can too!). To learn more about the work of A Day of Hope and how they are helping families in need, go to www.squidoo.com/adayofhope Learn more about Christopher Scott by reading his blog – http://www.christopherscottblog.typepad.com/
Five Favorite Leadership Books by Christopher Scott
Leaders are readers and leaders are learners. When I began leading people with A Day of Hope as a volunteer, I was not a very good leader. So I had to take time and effort to read some leadership books and freshen up on my leadership skills. Along the way I’ve read many books and listened to many audio teachings on the topic of leadership. The books below have all been paradigm shifters in the way I looked at leaders, my character as a leader, and how I lead people with success in our community.
Enjoy my five favorite leadership books.
1. Leadership Gold by John C. Maxwell (April, 2008)
Leadership Gold is one of the more than fifty books which John Maxwell has written. He waited until he was sixty years old to write Leadership Gold because he wanted it to be a reflective type of book. His reflection allowed him to look back on forty years of leading people to discern the most important principles he has learned. In the book, John outlines twenty-six of the best leadership principles he has learned over his forty years of leading people.
Leadership Gold is perhaps the most comprehensive leadership book I have ever read. I like to describe it as a comprehensive book of the fifty books John had written until the book was published in the spring of 2008. John covers many topics of leadership and helps new and veteran leaders to understand exactly what leadership is and how they can improve their own personal leadership.
What I like about the book is John’s lesson from a chapter entitled, “Keep Your Mind on the Main Thing”. In it, John talks about how we need to be narrowly focused on only a few things. We, as leaders, need to make sure we are focusing on only a few areas of our work and professional life. We have many distractions, and it’s on us to make sure we focus on the most important areas of life where we have the highest return on our priorities. This has helped me as a leader to realize most of my time should be spent on communicating verbally and through writing with the people I lead. This also means shedding away a lot of the things that we are not good at and that we don’t need to do. It means saying no, because saying no is not easy — especially when you have a servant’s heart and want to help a lot of people.
2. Tribes by Seth Godin (October, 2008)
Tribes is one of those small books that has a big impact. Seth Godin is great at recognizing leadership in the world and then writing about it to help us understand what leadership is.
In Tribes, Seth points out that everyone is part of a tribe. It’s built into us as human beings that we desire to be part of a tribe and that we will belong to at least one. The only thing to consider is which tribe will we be part of? As leaders, we need to be asking the question, “How am I leading my tribe?” Because we are all leading tribes whether we are aware of them or not.
After reading Tribes, I realized I lead a tribe of good-hearted people who want to learn about leadership and want to make a difference. Therefore, I need to make sure I am “focusing on the main thing,” to always be writing and talking about leadership and making a difference. And I need to get that message out as much as possible to the people I lead.
3. Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley (December, 2003)
Choosing to Cheat has been one of the most impactful books I have ever read in my life. It has changed the way I think about how much I work and has helped me develop the strength to stop working as much as I normally do.
When I was younger I would literally work seven days a week for more than ten hours a day. I was young, passionate, wanted to make a difference, and was willing to do anything to help others. However, this had specific implications on me that negatively affected my health and my ability to produce good quality work.
In the book, Andy Stanley advocates that we will always have more work to do. And when it comes to work and personal life, someone is going to get cheated. The decision of who gets cheated sits with you and me. Either we cheat family and give more time to work, or we cheat work and give more time to family. The logical decision is to cheat work for the sake of spending more time with the people most important to us, family. But with the extreme demands many people have in the corporate and nonprofit area, that sometimes is not an easy decision to make.
After reading this book, I made a conscious decision to cheat work for the sake of spending time with family. I determined that I would not work more than fifty five hours a week, and make sure I take Saturday evenings off and all day Sunday to spend with my girlfriend. I have consciously chosen to “cheat” work for the sake of spending time with my family. And it has made me a better leader because I have learned to: 1) Trust God more; and 2) Trust the team I work with more.
To learn more about the work of A Day of Hope and how they are helping families in need, go to www.squidoo.com/adayofhope Learn more about Christopher Scott by reading his blog – www.ChristopherScottblog.typepad.com
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Frank Mundo, LA Books Examiner, is the author of The Brubury Tales. For the latest updates to the site, don’t forget to sign up for email alerts and follow me on Twitter @LABooksExaminer and Facebook.